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T. rex had 8000-pound chomping power, study says

T. rex's 8000-pound bite could pulverize bone, say scientists.

A new study published in the journal Scientific Reports sheds light on why the gargantuan Tyrannosaurus rex was such a fearsome predator. Its jaws could clamp down on prey with an 8000-pound (3,630-kilogram) force — equal to the weight of several small cars.

A T. rex could pulverize bone like a “.45-caliber bullet with a mushroom head,” says co-author Gregory M. Erickson, curator at Florida State University’s Biological Science Museum, in a report by The Washington Post.

Using measurements based on living alligators, crocodiles, and birds, Erickson and co-author Paul Gignac, a professor of biological science and vertebrate paleontology at Oklahoma State University, created what they say is first computer model to look at the musculature of a T. rex jaw. They also calculated the amount of force the dinosaur’s seven-inch (18-centimeter) conical teeth would exert on bones — an impressive 431,000 pounds per square inch (30,300 kilograms per square centimeter).

“It was this bone-crunching acumen that helped T. rex to more fully exploit the carcasses of large horned dinosaurs and duck-billed hadrosaurids whose bones, rich in mineral salts and marrow, were unavailable to smaller, less equipped carnivorous dinosaurs,” explained Gignac, as reported by Forbes.

The king of dinosaurs — which weighed about seven tons, grew 20 feet tall, and was 43 feet long — had the most powerful bite of any creature studied, say the authors.

“T. rex could pretty much bite through whatever it wanted,” says Erickson, according to Reuters, “as long as it was made of flesh and bone.”

Delila James

Delila James

Associate Editor/Writer
Delila James practiced civil rights and employment law for almost 20 years. Before going to law school, she raised organic lamb on a ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills, ran a dairy farm in Muscoda, WI, and then owned a popular live music nightclub in Madison, WI. She has a Master's degree in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she went to law school. She also is a published poet. She now is a book editor, writes legal blogs, and is trying to finish a book. She has been writing for Science Recorder since March, 2013.
About Delila James (1321 Articles)
Delila James practiced civil rights and employment law for almost 20 years. Before going to law school, she raised organic lamb on a ranch in the Sierra Nevada foothills, ran a dairy farm in Muscoda, WI, and then owned a popular live music nightclub in Madison, WI. She has a Master's degree in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she went to law school. She also is a published poet. She now is a book editor, writes legal blogs, and is trying to finish a book. She has been writing for Science Recorder since March, 2013.